Shaquem Griffin loves playing fast as an outside linebacker on the football field. His blazing 4.38 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine in April further hammers home that point. But on his first day of practice with the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll had to slow him down just a bit.
“Shaquem looked very aggressive,“ Carroll said on Friday. “He was trying to run through (everything), we had to slow him down in some stuff early in the practice. In the walkthrus he was going too hard so we had to chill him out a little bit. But he’s very excited about being here and he’s a very, very good looking prospect.”
The Seahawks opened their three-day rookie minicamp and Griffin was one of nine Seahawks draft picks to participate in work a week after being drafted. Practice also included a number of undrafted free agents. Griffin wasn’t the only rookie to play with a high intensity on the first day, though.
“Today it was just everybody going fast,” Griffin said. “We have an amazing coaching staff here where they don’t want you to think about making mistakes, they want you to play fast and let them correct you. That’s very important when you don’t have to feel afraid to go fast or make a mistake.”
Griffin, who the Seahawks selected in the fifth-round of this year’s NFL Draft, will play alongside his brother, Shaquill, on Seattle’s defense and as expected, has already gotten advice from him about playing in Carroll’s system.
“I am getting a lot of tips from him and he definitely stays on top of a lot of the guys here about the importance of staying in the playbook,” Griffin said. “And that’s kind of cool where you’ve got guys you can tell ‘Stay in your playbook, it’s important.’ ‘You don’t have to make the process as hard as you need to, make sure that you listen to your coaches, make sure you stay in your playbook and make sure you stay ready at all times.’ I think my brother has given really good advice when it comes to staying in your playbook.”
Added Carroll: “He’s big and fast and had a good feel for what was going on. Obviously Shaq (Shaquill) had done a little bit of tutoring, he was ahead of us a little bit with his learning, which was good.”
Carroll said last week that Griffin’s role will be weakside linebacker on defense in addition to playing special teams for the Seahawks. However, as the first one-handed player to be drafted, there’s a ton of well-deserved attention regarding Griffin’s inspiring position off the field that Carroll wants the rookie to balance.
“It’s been a great story, it will always be a great story, but right now he’s got work to do and he’s got focus he’s got to generate,” Carroll said. “He’s got a lot of people tugging on him and for all of the right reasons and all of that, but I know that he’s very determined and we are to help him in his pursuit of making the club and making a spot and all of that. He’s like everybody else, he’s got to compete like everybody. He’s going to do it, he’s going to bring it. The fact that he’s talking with you guys (the media) about it, he understands and he’s gotten the message and he’s very clear about it and so we appreciate giving him a chance for everybody that’s working him. It’s such a wonderful story and he’s a wonderful kid and all that, I get it, but right now it’s ball.”
The message that Carroll passed along to Griffin is the same he sent to all of the team’s draft picks this year. He’s confident Griffin will make the transition smoothly at the next level with the Seahawks with no distractions.
“And not just him, it’s for all of our guys," Carroll added. "But know that there was going to be somewhat of a big rush, almost an avalanche of attention and focus, I just wanted him to stay centered and stay tuned in to what’s really important … he’s done a good job and his family has done well by him and his brother has been advantageous to him also. He’s going to be fine.”